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Jon & Kate Plus 8: raising twins and sextuplets on reality TV
June 6, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

You're a couple in your 20s, with twin girls. Desiring to have just one more child, your fertility treatments result in sextuplets. You are the Gosselin family and your reality TV show is about to start a 4th season. You have your admirers and of course, critics.
posted by jaimev (81 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
For their baby shower, I'm sending them a whelping box.
posted by optovox at 2:50 PM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's not a clown car.
posted by Poolio at 2:53 PM on June 6, 2008


human females are not meant to bear litters.
posted by killy willy at 2:57 PM on June 6, 2008


Also that's a clear abuse of insurance to have fertility treatments when you already have two kids. Man, I wish them the worst.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:57 PM on June 6, 2008


Normally not a hater, but I'm compelled to share this poster: Vagina, not a clown car.

There's a fictional anecdote about Groucho Marx in a similar vein.

"Why do you have so many children?" I asked Mrs. Story. "That's a big responsibility and a big burden."

"Well," she replied, "because I love children, and I think that's our purpose here on earth, and I love my husband."

"I love my cigar too," I shot back, "but I take it out of my mouth once in a while."

posted by BrotherCaine at 2:57 PM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Damnit Poolio.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:58 PM on June 6, 2008


Normally not a hater, but I'm compelled to share this poster:

I felt the same compulsion.
posted by Poolio at 2:59 PM on June 6, 2008


From the Wikipedia article:

According to Kate, "I began to feel like we could do this! With God's help, of course!"

If God had wanted you to bear 6 children at once, He wouldn't have made you infertile.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:59 PM on June 6, 2008 [26 favorites]


Also, shouldn't that be YOU"RE-NOT-GOING-TO-HAVE-TIME-FOR-SEX-EVER-AGAIN-tuplets?
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:00 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


After a lot of prayer and even turning down the option to adopt a newborn, Jon and Kate agreed to try again.

Bet they're regretting that decision now?
posted by liquorice at 3:09 PM on June 6, 2008


My wife loves this show, for whatever reason also compels her to watch Grey's Anatomy and other wifely TV shows.

It's interesting to note that the mother in this show has loudly proclaimed herself to be a poster child for fertility treatments gone awry. In one episode, the Gosselin mother upbraids a marketing/PR person for attempting to portray her case as some kind of "fertility success story."

They certainly didn't want this to happen, unlike the family in the "vagina clown car" image noted above, which dutifully have had all 14 kids the old-fashioned way.

you know, through a hole in a sheet, like the Bible says
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:11 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's not a family, it's a litter.
posted by Pollomacho at 3:21 PM on June 6, 2008


Yeah, wife (and I guess by extension myself) is/are pretty in to the show, it more interesting to see how they survive having this many kids at once, ethics of having this many aside my viewing of the show seems to indicate they are just trying to survive with the kids as best they can.
posted by iamabot at 3:30 PM on June 6, 2008


ugh, gag me.

I had wanted children right away, but Jon wasn’t ready. I had a nagging feeling since I was a child that I would have a hard time getting pregnant. So, that fall I decided to get testing done

So she knew her new husband wasn't ready for kids, but went ahead with the testing anyway? If I'm reading the timeline right, they were pregnant (after two IVF cycles) by the February after their June marriage. Apparently the fact that it is hard for her to get pregnant convinced the husband that he did want to get pregnant immediately? But it gets worse:

The girls turned one and I started thinking about more children…But, Jon wasn’t convinced. I prayed for a long time that God would change his mind. It took a long time and a rough experience for both of us for that to happen...

Despite the fact that Jon was against having more kids, Kate was apparently still on the lookout for more opportunities and in March they considered adopting a newborn - but decided it wasn't the right time and decided against the adoption.

It hurt so badly, but I knew we were doing the right thing. I mourned for the better part of a month and it was then that Jon agreed to let us return to try and have another baby. He saw just how badly I wanted to be a mommy again.

She not only pressured him into having the first ones, but also 'prayed for a long time that God would change his mind' about having more children? Kids are wonderful, but all involved parties should be ready to have them, not pressured into consent. That's pretty repugnant to me.
posted by arnicae at 3:38 PM on June 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


What a responsible young man, unlike all those man children. Who says the TV doesn't have any good role models?
posted by Bugg at 3:41 PM on June 6, 2008


.
posted by nobeagle at 3:48 PM on June 6, 2008


If God had wanted you to bear 6 children at once, He wouldn't have made you infertile.

Whatever your feelings on these people, whatever your tone or real views on god's level of input on how many kids anyone has, that's a really fucked up and hurtful thing to say. It felt like a slap in the face to read.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:52 PM on June 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


(responding to Mayor Curley, and forgetting my italics tags)
posted by crabintheocean at 3:53 PM on June 6, 2008


Is boredom so rife in this county that this can be called entertainment?
posted by Senator at 3:55 PM on June 6, 2008


country
posted by Senator at 3:56 PM on June 6, 2008


hemisphere
posted by Senator at 3:56 PM on June 6, 2008


Yeah, so I'm not a fan of the Jesus-ness of their website, but the show is damn entertaining. Hearing a whole household of kids celebrate like Mickey Mouse himself just walked in the front door just because "Hannah pooped!" is hilarious.

And seriously, Mayor Curley, how's driving the Bitter Bus working out for you?
posted by chiababe at 4:00 PM on June 6, 2008


i know people who have successfully undergone fertility treatments. as a single woman past child-bearing age, i never understood the drive to have technology do what the body clearly doesn't want. the thing that jumps out at me about this discussion, though, is the quote arnicae pulled out: I prayed for a long time that God would change his [jon's] mind. i don't understand why christians don't pray for acceptance and strength instead of for getting their own way.
yes. i know this is off topic. i still don't understand.
posted by msconduct at 4:09 PM on June 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


I am always a little uncomfortable with people who undergo a fertility treatment that has a high probability of producing multiple births, which if carried have a high probability of preterm birth and disability for the babies, but who then are absolutely sure God doesn't want them to reduce the pregnancy. I'm a faithy person, but that kind of thinking just always seems to me like, "How amazing that God always wants me to do exactly what I want to do!"

My partner and I chose not to pursue fertility treatments of that type because we didn't want to be faced with that decision. One of my friends worked with a doctor who won't work with people who refuse to reduce a pregnancy ("reduce" is of course a euphemism for aborting some of the fetuses).

Mayor Curley, it's very very unlikely their insurance covered fertility treatments. Fertility related expenses are excluded in most policies. People usually pay for it themselves.
posted by not that girl at 4:14 PM on June 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


Guh, these people make me sick.

I'm just wondering exactly how much the family is going to fall apart when they all need braces at the same time, when they all need to go to college at the same time...
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:16 PM on June 6, 2008


i don't understand why christians don't pray for acceptance and strength instead of for getting their own way.

Some do:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2008


i don't understand why christians don't pray for acceptance and strength instead of for getting their own way

Some do: Not my will, but thine, be done. For example.

(I'm not a Christian. But I know some good ones.)
posted by not that girl at 4:22 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "critics" linked in the OP aren't critics, but the kind of people who sit around rehashing every little thing that happens on a tv show, especially reality shows, as if it were their life itself. I know people like that.

You want critics, you need metafilter.
posted by artifarce at 4:22 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ive seen the show a couple of times and always wondered how they afford everything, but I assume that TLC must pay for them some of it. And honestly how do they not go crazy with not only all those kids in the house but the camera screw and everybody else. I would go crazy with just the kids following me around.
posted by lilkeith07 at 4:27 PM on June 6, 2008


Ive seen the show a couple of times and always wondered how they afford everything, but I assume that TLC must pay for them some of it.

I noticed the kids were all wearing Baby Gap stuff for a while. There's plenty of other product placement in there, I'm sure.
posted by chiababe at 4:38 PM on June 6, 2008


If MC is bitter then you've got more targets for your remonstrations than minutes in your lives. There's an oblivious grotesqueness to churning out that many kids, along the same line of thinking of prayer as a means of medical treatment.
posted by docpops at 4:50 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


If God had wanted you to bear 6 children at once, He wouldn't have made you infertile.

I wanted to say this an awesome comment. A+++
posted by xmutex at 4:51 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


They have eight kids, it's a burden on society, yeah we get it. But now they're making the best of it because the kids are not going back up the birth canal to be returned at Customer Service and what we should be concerned about is how well they raise their eight kids. If they're doing a bad job, give 'em shit. If they're doing a good job, they deserve applause. That's a damned sight more useful to society than parking onself behind the pulpit and pounding the Book of Judgement, thinking one is so shockingly clever and All That. I mean ferchrissake.
posted by illiad at 5:06 PM on June 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


If God had wanted you to bear 6 children at once, He wouldn't have made you infertile.

If god was really that bugged out about it he probably could have prevented the efficacy of the fertility treatments. My guess, he really doesn't care.
posted by iamabot at 5:36 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm just wondering exactly how much the family is going to fall apart when they all need braces at the same time, when they all need to go to college at the same time...

My guess, not any more than any other large family falls apart. It's life, and honestly while western culture may frown on it...8 really isn't anything incredible, people get by as best they can with what they can. I wouldn't assume that this particular family would fall apart at financial hardship, they have sextuplets, they've been facing financial hardship since the kids were born, to some extent they are old hands at it.
posted by iamabot at 5:39 PM on June 6, 2008


My guess, not any more than any other large family falls apart. It's life, and honestly while western culture may frown on it... 8 really isn't anything incredible

Sextuplets really are extraordinarily rare, and having so many children of exactly the same age alters the large-family dynamic radically. In most large families, the older children can (and typically do) play a large role in caring for the younger children, relieving the parents of a significant portion of the cost and stress of child care. Typical large families can also hand down clothing and toys as the older children grow out of them. Not so with sextuplets.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:13 PM on June 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


honestly while western culture may frown on it...8 really isn't anything incredible, people get by as best they can with what they can.

iamabot, think about what you're saying. Yeah, large families are nothing new. Obviously, you never grew up in or knew anyone from a family of eight (or more) children. The only way those families stayed afloat was because the older kids helped with the younger ones.

When six of the eight are the same age, and the other two are only a couple of years older, who's handling all that tedious and necessary kid maintenance? Please keep in mind that (just as an example) supervising homework for one first-grader is parenting, while supervising it for six first-graders is teaching a class.
posted by dogrose at 6:26 PM on June 6, 2008


In most large families, the older children can (and typically do) play a large role in caring for the younger children, relieving the parents of a significant portion of the cost and stress of child care. Typical large families can also hand down clothing and toys as the older children grow out of them. Not so with sextuplets.

Having watched the show, this already happens to some extent with the twins. As far as hand me downs go, the three girls in the sextuplets I assume get hand me downs from the twin girls. Toys, same thing to some extent.

My point was that the family was unlikely to "fall apart" as easily as dnab indicated he expected it to.
posted by iamabot at 6:30 PM on June 6, 2008


Well, given the falling birthrate in this country, I for one am glad that there will eventually be 8 more worker bees paying for my social security and medicare.
posted by gyc at 6:54 PM on June 6, 2008


Has anyone ever noticed the incredible, barely-restrained, seething anger that the dad is always carrying around? That guy is gonna snap one day.
posted by Avenger at 7:48 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely firmly entrenched in the "sickened by these people" camp.

They are selfish, over privileged, hypocritical opportunists. They have replaced any ability for rational thought with a childish and arrogant attitude of "God wanted it."

I really feel sorry for these kids; being exploited like some kind of freak show by parents who have no self-awareness and not a shred of human decency.

And as sickening as these two self-righteous, vapid, and socially unaware twits are; even more so to the marketers and PR people who commercialize these poor kid's lives.
posted by vertigo25 at 7:54 PM on June 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I never noticed the anger, but an explanation could be that the mom is an unbelievably anal control freak. The deeply dysfunctional sort.
posted by illiad at 7:54 PM on June 6, 2008


Obviously, you never grew up in or knew anyone from a family of eight (or more) children. The only way those families stayed afloat was because the older kids helped with the younger ones.

Not 8. I have four brothers and sisters, of which I am the oldest. My father has 7 brothers though, my mom 3 siblings. I have relatives with 8+ children, I have relatives with 3 sets of twins, and triplets without fertility treatments, I am fully aware of what it is like in a household that large.

My point was that the family was unlikely to "fall apart" as easily as dnab indicated he expected it to, not trivializing the situation it's not as *omgchaotic* as some of the comments make it out to be.
posted by iamabot at 8:43 PM on June 6, 2008


gyc: Well, given the falling birthrate in this country, I for one am glad that there will eventually be 8 more worker bees paying for my social security and medicare.

A rising birthrate just means that we'll run out of resources faster, destroy the environment sooner, and accelerate (and make more certain) the collapse of society. It's entirely possible they will not be paying your social security and medicare, they will be outcompeting you for scarce food, energy, and arable land. Or just shooting you as a heretic.

Besides, even if society stays intact they'll probably get so many tax-write offs for their own litters that they'll have a near-negative tax rate. Personally, I think taxes should only go down until you have two kids, stay stable at three, and start to rise dramatically at four.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:51 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am 47, my wife is 50; she has lupus. We will never have children. Neither of us.

.
posted by yhbc at 9:08 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


as a single woman past child-bearing age, i never understood the drive to have technology do what the body clearly doesn't want.

What, you've never benefited from any other advances in medical science? I never understood the drive of people who have never experienced the heartbreak of infertility to be so certain about what someone else should do with her own body.

I have never seen this show, and if I were to get pregnant with multiple fetuses I believe I would reduce, but I hold no ill will toward these people.
posted by sugarfish at 9:17 PM on June 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Mayor Curley, it's very very unlikely their insurance covered fertility treatments. Fertility related expenses are excluded in most policies. People usually pay for it themselves.

In Massachusetts, it's legally mandated that health insurance cover X attempts at IUI and Y attempts at IVF per 12 months. I'm sure it's not the only state that does this.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:18 PM on June 6, 2008


Say what you want about their decisions but reducing infertility to God's will is ludicrous, ignorant and frankly insulting to the people that suffer from this condition. It's causes are varied and affect both men and women. Most states DON'T mandate insurance coverage to treat this condition unless it's caused by your husband's inability to get a stiffie then by all means let's throw some Viagra at it.

If you are against medical intervention then please don't fight Cancer when it happens upon you, or get help if you have a heart attack or any of the other millions way we choose to "accept" medical intervention without judgment.

I know in the rush to condemn their decisions you want to be smart with your one liners but a little sensitivity and compassion to a medical condition might serve you well.

And before you say that you didn't choose to have children and you are better, then perhaps you have missed the point. It's a deeply intense, personal choice to have children or not as the case may be.
posted by free2bme at 9:32 PM on June 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


I never understood the drive of people who have never experienced the heartbreak of infertility to be so certain about what someone else should do with her own body.

It's what they should do for the PLANET and for the shockingly large part of the American population that absorbs its examples and ethics solely from television.

And I'm saying this as someone who has dealt with the heartbreak of infertility. No snark intended. I know about Massachusetts' insurance laws regarding fertility firsthand. And I still maintain that these parents are fiends.

(There's a fetus in this house sponsored by a long road of insurance-sponsored fertility treatments. But SHH! We don't have the chromosome stuff back for a few days.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:35 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


My point was that the family was unlikely to "fall apart" as easily as dnab indicated he expected it to, not trivializing the situation it's not as *omgchaotic* as some of the comments make it out to be.

Point taken. Then deal with my point: having a family of eight children of ages ranging from 18 years to 18 months is a different proposition from having eight children, all within 48 months in age.
posted by dogrose at 9:38 PM on June 6, 2008


Say what you want about their decisions but reducing infertility to God's will is ludicrous, ignorant and frankly insulting to the people that suffer from this condition. It's causes are varied and affect both men and women.

If Kate can suggest God's helping her out, I can say He actually curses her. Neither of us know God, and God doesn't will anything anyway because He's a fictional character like Ethan Frome and Spiderman.

If you are against medical intervention then please don't fight Cancer when it happens upon you, or get help if you have a heart attack or any of the other millions way we choose to "accept" medical intervention without judgment.

I am against someone's weary cootch spitting out 6 homonculi at a time or 8 in any order. I'm actually FOR medical intervention because I think if you're willing to affect the cycle of life by taking fertility drugs, you should also affect it by selectively aborting if your pregnancy is going to be a stunt.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:45 PM on June 6, 2008


I don't see where the hate is coming from, the comments would certainly have been of a different kind were the Gosselins atheist.

Last time I checked, there were no laws regulating number of children allotted to a couple. If eight kids born into a family really disgusts you, really gets you going about population crisis, go steal eight dollars that would have otherwise gone to sponsoring eight children in Africa.

Also, it's not your womb.

If it makes you happier, think of it this way. We'll have plenty of food for the impending food crisis.
posted by Upal at 9:51 PM on June 6, 2008


Thank you free2bme. As someone who experienced the heartbreak of infertility I saw my Dr's as absolute miracle workers. They saved my life just as much as any surgeon or specialist might.

I've been following this thread tonight trying to think of something dynamic to say, something smart and stinging. Something to let the assholes upthread know how much their words hurt, because you are talking about my children too, not just the Gosslins. I've been trying to turn this around and compare my making a medical decision to treat my infertility to someone choosing an abortion or another medical procedure that metafilter would sanction as "ok" and "acceptable" and "my right". But, I can't think. I'm tired. My precious daughter is out of school and we spent the day cleaning her room and then went swimming. My sweet baby boy is getting over a cold and has been especially clingy today. Kept his little arms around my neck and didn't want to be put down. I can't go to sleep until I give him his medicine at 1 am and cover them both for the last time. I'm tired, can't think, can't be witty and stinging right now, and I wouldn't change a thing.
posted by pearlybob at 9:56 PM on June 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Mayor Curley - it seems like you have issues in general with women and the choices they make with their "weary cootches". And apparently having this touch you and yours hasn't softened your pointy stick of vitriol at all. Also just because you believe God is a myth doesn't mean that he/she/it/spirit isn't known to others. Just saying.

Pearlybob - thanks. I'm not trying to be stinging rather inject some compassion into a conversation that seemed to be drifting into misogyny and judgmental one-liner bumper sticker philosophy.
posted by free2bme at 10:09 PM on June 6, 2008


Something to let the assholes upthread know how much their words hurt, because you are talking about my children too, not just the Gosslins.

JESUS FUCK! ARRGH!

You're like the fifth person to accuse people here of shitting on fertility treatments. No one has fucking done that! No one!

People are remarking on the sheer number, the pregnancy as spectacle, the real-life "Every Sperm is Sacred" sketch. Some people here may have problems with the existence of fertility treatments. We don't know because no one has attacked anything except having a litter.

As for my comment about "God making her infertile," I was joking. It's funny that the mother credits God for helping her raise her children, but doesn't blame Him for making her unable to conceive without science. That's it. I'm not slagging on your AI kids as long as you only have a couple.

Actually, I think that the group of people who took the negativity personally despite not having litters did it willfully.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:14 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley - it seems like you have issues in general with women and the choices they make with their "weary cootches".

I assure you I don't. Just the ones that breed in the style of dalmatians; and the braindead, superstitious ones who make broad assumptions when they're irritated and have nothing better to fire back with.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:20 PM on June 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think the comment about God making her infertile should feel like a slap in the face. Clearly, rational thought is not the forte of this couple - they're in some kind of Jesus-baby-Fate-hormone trance. Once you believe that the existence of insurance companies and fertility treatments is God's doing (but not the infertility, oddly, God only does stuff we like!), you've checked out of reasoned discussion and need a firehose turned on you. Some strong words are the least of what would be appropriate, especially for people who are about to make and raise eight other people.
posted by adipocere at 10:28 PM on June 6, 2008


I once saw her slap her husband's face then refer to it as a 'love tap' - she's disgustingly mean to him.
posted by jeffmik at 10:54 PM on June 6, 2008


Here's something: the Catholic Church, at least, has the sense of consistency to, if it's going to oppose abortion, also oppose fertility treatments leading to unnaturally sized litters.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:59 PM on June 6, 2008


If you are against medical intervention then please don't fight Cancer when it happens upon you, or get help if you have a heart attack or any of the other millions way we choose to "accept" medical intervention without judgment.

You're comparing fertility treatments to treatment for cancer and heart attacks? Seriously? I mean, I think some of the "how dare you have kids" outrage in this thread is over the top if not flat out ridiculous, but your analogy is really fucking weak.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:12 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't presume to speak for Mayor Curley, but I've felt a similar frustration in listening to their rationale for their actions, especially Kate, the prime mover of the whole fertility treatment. "God wouldn't want us to reduce the number of fetuses," she piously intones. Lady! You've already poked your finger in the eye of what God wanted! You've rejected God and gone with Science! It seems like it's a little late for you to be worrying about what God wants.

If you want to get right down to it, it seems to me that God offered you a baby in need, but then you rejected it because "the time wasn't right." But that's just me. It's always so hard, interpreting what God wants.
posted by Palquito at 11:16 PM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, God clearly does not care about embryos.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:19 PM on June 6, 2008


If you are against medical intervention then please don't fight Cancer when it happens upon you, or get help if you have a heart attack or any of the other millions way we choose to "accept" medical intervention without judgment. (free2beme, quoted by spaceman_spiff)

You're comparing fertility treatments to treatment for cancer and heart attacks? Seriously? I mean, I think some of the "how dare you have kids" outrage in this thread is over the top if not flat out ridiculous, but your analogy is really fucking weak.


But spaceman_spiff, though free2bme's statement was a little confusingly worded, s/he was arguing against the people who are criticizing the Gosselins, not promulgating the "how dare you have kids outrage", as you put it.
posted by arnicae at 2:00 AM on June 7, 2008


Why is this show so popular with some women? I can understand why people enjoy soapy drama like Grey's Anatomy, but I don't understand this show's appeal.
posted by Locative at 2:27 AM on June 7, 2008


If you are against medical intervention then please don't fight Cancer when it happens upon you, or get help if you have a heart attack or any of the other millions way we choose to "accept" medical intervention without judgment.

No one has ever died from not having a baby.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:13 AM on June 7, 2008


As said by arnicae - I didn't word it very eloquently. I'm not equating the two. What I was trying to say was that - those that think you shouldn't intervene in God's plan and thus not have medical intervention for infertility because "if he wanted you to have children he would have made it happen" need to carry out the thought process all the way out to it's inevitable and what I believe to be ludicrous end.

My point all along in this thread was to inject some compassion into the discussion in regards to infertility as it seemed to be veering off into platitudes, and one-off comments when this topic as illustrated by this thread is much more personal, thoughtful and core to the basic need of humans to reproduce than it first appears.
posted by free2bme at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2008


Wow, I so was not expecting to find fan made film clips of this show on YouTube.
posted by liquorice at 7:44 AM on June 7, 2008


Why is this show so popular with some women? I can understand why people enjoy soapy drama like Grey's Anatomy, but I don't understand this show's appeal.

I watched it a couple of times in total. It's got that "train wreck" aura about it.
posted by illiad at 8:51 AM on June 7, 2008


Locative writes "Why is this show so popular with some women?"

Same reason a basket of kittens is popular with cat lovers. Some people just like babies, so watching lots at once is more fun. I don't like the show myself. The mom seems to do nothing in any of the previews I have seen except sit and give orders. The dad appears to be henpecked, bewildered, and every family with multiples in the order of 5-6 or more makes me feel uneasy, as I know that many of the health issues the kids face are a direct result of the parent's decision not to reduce. I can't understand why having fewer, healthy kids is better than having more, when having more is very likely to mean increased chance of developmental problems and major health issues.

Personally, I find myself agreeing with Mayor Curley - which feels... wrong to me, given stuff he's said in the past that I didn't agree with, but yeah. There is no reason to have that many kids at once. My preference is for smaller families - however, if you can afford it, I don't object to people having larger families (as much as I dislike the Dugger family, at least they are raising their baseball team on their own dime); I simply object to too many at once. The human body isn't set up to handle more than about two babies at a time. Biologically, it's kind of simple - if you want to measure the typical maximum litter size of a mammal, you count the nipples. For those of you not paying attention to such things, humans typically have two.

I wholeheartedly agree with the folks expressing confusion over couples that cite religious beliefs as reasons not to reduce, while at the same time ignoring their defiance of "god's will" in taking the drugs to begin with. In my mind you either accept both, or neither, you don't pick and choose. My wife and I are planning our first kid now. We both decided years ago that if things don't work, we'll adopt. Our drive is to raise a kid, not necessarily raise a kid we created. I understand the desire for this - reproduction is the strongest biological drive, and it's the only reason any life exists in the first place - but as disappointing as it may be, we'll opt to adopt if things don't work.

It's a very simple decision in my book. When reproduction does not work naturally, there is very often a damn good reason for it - like incompatible major histocompatibility complexes, or other less obvious genetic issues, that result in auto-termination and/or defective embryonic development patterns. I do not want to force past those natural barriers to reproduction because they exist for a reason. My fear is that the current trend towards more and more IVF is going to leave us with a legacy of generations of children that may not be able to reproduce without medical intervention in the near future. We think we know better than millions of years of constant refinement of the technique, because we managed to put an egg and some sperm in a dish. I'm skeptical. I don't want to risk putting any kid of mine through a future like that.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:59 AM on June 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whatever you feel about the wisdom of IVF, the bile in this thread is excessive.

These are people who for whatever reason that is none of your damn business chose not to selectively terminate some embryos which, of course, can hurt them all. Now they are helping to support that family by participating in a reality show. And people watch, because they are interested in parenting and how families interact, and this is an unusual family.

We have no more right to condemn their reproductive choices than we would to say that childless people are selfish and don't want to grow up. (Which I wouldn't - I'm just trying to give an example of a form of bile which would not be acceptable to most members of this site.)
posted by jb at 10:52 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


70 comments and it is pretty clear that the majority of posts are coming from people that have never watched the show. If you want a really good laugh, watch this show, and then follow it with an episode of SuperNanny or Nanny911. Infertility treatment is not an exact science, stuff happens, their faith precludes abortion (and the procedure also runs the risk of miscarrying the fetuses left behind), and now they are doing the best they can to raise eight children to be smart and kind and polite, with a lot more success than the families with one or two kids that end up on the Nanny-emergency shows, so more power to them.
posted by kristin at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


and now they are doing the best they can to raise eight children to be smart and kind and polite, with a lot more success than the families with one or two kids that end up on the Nanny-emergency shows, so more power to them.

You're conflating television with real life. If they're such awesome parents then why are they selling their children as spectacle for you to watch?
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


We have no more right to condemn their reproductive choices than we would to say that childless people are selfish and don't want to grow up.

If the world was dangerously underpopulated I would judge the childless. It's not.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:43 PM on June 7, 2008


I only saw this show once, where I had to change the channel - the kids were going nuts and the guy looked like he wanted to die (in all seriousness) it was hard to watch (the mother was off camera, I don't know why).

I do not know how these parents could take it, I've seen so many relationships fall under way less pressure than this. I mean, I have relatives with big families but they lived on farms where they had a lot of space and work to do or at least all the kids weren't all babies at the same time. To me that is the real story.

The second story is I think, that while many people can can understand why others use fertility treatments, it messes with nature and people sometimes get horrible results. I am sure that this couple will smile and laugh about this if they are still together in their 70's but nobody should go through this. I don't think they deserve hate or pity.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:44 PM on June 7, 2008


I had never seen this show (don't have cable) but after spending a bit of time looking into it I got to say they come off as creepy.
And really it what comes down to is, these are people who sell their lives and privacy for a buck. Yeah, stupid choices were made and they are lucky that none of the children have life-long disabilities that often accompany multiple births, but to invoke Jesus and parade the kids in front of TV crews adds a level of creepiness that is totally uncalled for.

Adults can choose whether to let others into their day to day lives. These children did not make a choice to have their "bratty" behaviors fodder for anyone with an opinion.
yuck.
posted by readery at 2:25 PM on June 7, 2008


A few things:

"How amazing that God always wants me to do exactly what I want to do!"

You have summed up in one sentence what I've been trying to discern for going on 14 years now that is the absolute essence of what bothers me about organized religion. Sensei.

If God had wanted you to bear 6 children at once, He wouldn't have made you infertile.

This is both stunningly witty and profoundly insightful at the same time. Well done. I couldn't agree more.

I think Mass. is an outlier in mandating insurance coverage for infertility treatments. It is certainly not the norm everywhere.

I agree that the general tenor of this thread is not "don't have fertility treatments" it is "don't have a litter". Those are not the same thing.

Also, it is perfectly fair to call out the parents' weak-sauce religious beliefs. If you believe God doesn't want you to have abortions, then God probably doesn't want your eggs fertilized outside your body and introduced via high-tech turkey baster.

And pity is not an emotion I would have for this couple. I could care less if they ever get 1 hour's sleep or have 2 nickels to rub together. This is a mess of their own making.

Also, the mother may be a shrew, but she pretty much made that clear in the biography, and I'm quite sure it was abundantly clear right from the beginning. She bullied him into the first set of children, then bullied him into the second round. Of course the guy looks miserable and wants to die. He wanted 0 children, and now has 8. And he knows it is because he's a spineless pinhead. I'd be fucking miserable too.
posted by Ynoxas at 5:37 PM on June 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Why does everybody assume that the mother had IVF, and therefore had some control over the number of embryos produced and implanted? Or is it just easier to assume that in order to excoriate her for having children via medical assistance? She had fertility treatment because she didn't ovulate, according to all of the bio websites, and that includes a lot of minimally invasive drug regimes in which it may be possible to expect one or two and end up with more. If she was just on drugs, or drugs +IUI, there is no way to know in advance what is going to happen.

Also, isn't her husband a grown man? They did this together, but somehow the blame seems to lie pretty squarely on the mother, who forced her husband to have children when he did not want to. How does that work, exactly?
posted by kristin at 9:14 PM on June 7, 2008


Their lives, not yours. If you don't like how many kids they have, or the means by which the children were obtained, then don't watch there show. I'm a little bit surpised by the vitriol in the comments here.
posted by emd3737 at 9:36 PM on June 7, 2008


I'm watching the show right now; have been on and off all day, whenever my sister gains control of the remote. I just don't get why you'd put your children and your family life on TV- why expose the most important thing in your life to that sort of criticism? What good can come of it (other than money)? I get reality shows for Playboy playmates or aspiring singers, but for a family? Other than the money, I just don't get it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:56 PM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's about the money. If they build the kids up into a brand, they can use that for financial gain. The kids could become get into music, commercials, books, etc. It could provide for a solid middle class income and help the parents pay for nannies, vehicles, clothes, college, medical expenses, glasses, braces, shoes...oh and the 1300 paper plates they use every couple of months and the church tithe.

Would I put my kids on TV like that? No. But I also don't have eight kids to feed, clothe, shelter and educate. So, faced with the consequences of my decisions, I might get creative with childhood privacy. Look at what's happened with some of the "mommy bloggers" who make good money. How do you balance privacy with the fact that a couple of years of Dooce invested at 5% will provide $50k a year for life?
posted by acoutu at 10:49 PM on June 9, 2008


adipocere - It didn't mean that it felt like a slap in the face to the woman from the show, I'm guessing she isn't reading this. It felt like a slap in the face to me. I'm not interested in discussing or defending people on tv (and I have no love at all for fundamentalist christians), I'm responding to Mayor Curley's attempted zingers/broad lashing out. As someone who will almost certainly need fertility help because I'm gay, and additionally have some reproductive medical issues, that comment hurt.
posted by crabintheocean at 12:00 PM on June 10, 2008


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